There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
As we face uncertainty due to COVID, business leaders need not wait for “normal” to return, they need to take action now. “Normal” is not returning! Remember this is not an economic crisis as much as a public health crisis. Until we fix the latter, the former cannot recover. Given our failure at dealing with the latter, I think that we are going to be living in this uncertain state for the next 12 to 18 months. Thus by the time we emerge, behaviors adopted during this time will have become the norm.
While many companies have received PPP loans or are feeling comfortable with current orders, as economist Tom Cunningham pointed out so pointedly on a call on Friday, most of the government support is in the form of bridge loans; the problem is we don’t know how long the bridge needs to be. If we are going to be in this limbo for 12 to 18 months, the loans are not long enough, and many will not survive. Bankruptcies have already wreaked havoc on the economy and are not slowing down. State and local governments, which account for 60% of government-generated GDP, are in a terrible state and will be shedding workers and cutting services as they struggle to survive. The ripple effects will continue. Be prepared.
As I and many have pointed out, COVID is an accelerant. We are now five to ten years ahead in our industries, so are you positioned for such a place? Darwinism is not survival of the fittest, but those ablest to adapt to the new environment. Start adapting. Expand your market and potential client-based. Review processes to see if they can be more efficient.
Not only should you review your business, but also your personal life. COVID is not the flu, it is horrible, and those that survive will in many cases, not have an easy time going forward. Thus, look at your relationships with your parents, spouse, significant other, children, close friends. Are they where you would want them in five to ten years, and if not, make them so. The window to do so may not be as open as you think.
Defining an organization’s culture as a “Family” culture reflects tolerance to subpar performance. Rather focus on those characteristics of a “family” culture that you want.
Knowing the profit of your core customers is key to building a growth model. Many companies have identified core customers that are generating a sub-optimal profit and so they cannot realize the profits they seek. Identifying the correct core customer allows you to generate profits and often operate in “Blue Ocean.”
The European Super League collapsed within days of launch due to hubris and the founder forgetting the key parts of their business model, value creation, sales, and value delivery. The collapse might bring a high price.
Many business owners want to sell at the top of the market. However, market timing is tough. Is this the best strategy? Probably not.
Working with many companies looking to grow, I am always surprised how many have not built a financial model that drives growth. I have mentioned before a financial model that drives growth? Here I am basing on Jim Collin's Profit/X, which he laid out in Good to...
As we emerge from COVID, the current employment environment makes me think of a surfing concept: “Being Caught Inside When a Big Set Comes Through.” Basically, the phrase refers to when you paddle like crazy to escape the crash of one wave, only to find that the next wave in the set is even bigger—and you’re exhausted. 2020 was the first wave, leaving us tired and low. But looking forward, there are major challenges looming on the horizon as business picks up in 2021. You are already asking a lot of your employees, who are working flat out and dealing with stress until you are able to hire more. But everyone is looking for employees right now, and hiring and retention for your organization is growing more difficult.
“Why don’t they use common sense?!” You may have said this phrase yourself, or heard it with your managers, when discussing an employee’s actions. However, the frustrated appeal to “common sense” doesn’t actually make any meaningful change in your organization. We all make decisions based on the information we have and the guides we have to use. So if the wrong decisions are being made in your organization, it’s time to examine the tools you give decision-makers.
You can only determine profitability when you know your costs. I’ve discussed before that you should price according to value, not hours. However, you still need to know your costs to understand the minimum pricing and how it is performing. Do you consider each jobs’ profitability when you price new jobs? Do you know what you should be charging to ensure you hit your profit targets? These discussions about a company’s profitability, and what measure drives profit, are critical for your organization.
If you were starting your business today, what would you do differently? This thought-provoking question is a valuable exercise, especially when it brings up the idea of “sunk costs” and how they limit us. A sunk cost is a payment or investment that has already been made. Since it is unrecoverable no matter what, a sunk cost shouldn’t be factored into any future decisions. However, we’re all familiar with the sunk cost fallacy: behavior driven by a past expenditure that isn’t recoupable, regardless of future actions.
Bringing clarity to your organization is a common theme on The Disruption! blog. Defining your business model is a worthwhile exercise for any leadership team. But how do you even begin to bring clarity into your operations? If you’re looking for a place to start, Josh Kaufman’s “Five Parts of Every Business” offers an excellent framework. Kaufman defines five parts of every business model that all flow into the next, breaking it down into Value Creation, Marketing, Sales, Value Delivery, and Finance.